Esports Arena: Overwatch League Swarms Philadelphia, Call of Duty Teams Unveil Rosters

Overwatch League - Publicity - H 2019
Courtesy of Overwatch League

Elsewhere in competitive gaming: Echo Fox's vacant 'League of Legends' slot has been filled and Nintendo of France reverses its ban of 'Dragon Quest XI' character in 'Super Smash. Bros Ultimate' event.

Esports Arena is a curated weekly roundup of the biggest stories in the world of online competitive gaming.

The Fusion Arena, the first dedicated esports stadium in the United States and future home of the Overwatch League’s Philadelphia Fusion, has begun construction. 

Owner Comcast Spectacor held a groundbreaking ceremony last week to commemorate the event, attended by chairman and CEO Dave Scott, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney and members of the Philadelphia City Council. The $50 million arena is touted as the “largest new-construction, purpose-built esports arena in the Western Hemisphere.”

”We’re proud to break ground on this ambitious project that will usher in a new generation of fans and events to the Philadelphia Sports Complex,” Scott said. “Fusion Arena is a stunning addition to our development plan and partnership with the Cordish Companies, and exemplifies a strong belief in the future of esports.” 

Plans for the new arena include a 60,000-square-foot facility, which will accommodate 3,500 spectators, with 10,000 square feet of the facility slated to become the Xfinity Training Center for fostering up-and-coming esports competitors. There will also be a broadcast studio and Fusion team offices onsite. 

The Fusion Arena is slated to open in time for the 2021 Overwatch League season. 

Elsewhere, the San Francisco Shock dominated the Vancouver Titans in Sunday’s Overwatch League Grand Finals, taking the best-of-seven series with four consecutive victories. The Shock were led by league MVP Hyo-bin “ChoiHyoBin” Choi, whose masterful Sigma character play carried his team on every map. Team owner Andy Miller spoke highly of his new championship-winning squad at the post-game press conference, saying “This is a group of babyface killers that’s just been doing it all year long.” 

Here’s what else is happening in the world of esports.

London and New York Call of Duty Roster Teams Set

Two of the new Call of Duty League’s squads have finalized their starting rosters. The New York franchise has revealed a lineup of North American players, including three former members of FaZe Clan in Trei “Zer0” Morris, Tommy “ZooMaa” Paparratto and Dillon “Attach” Price, with Lamar “Accuracy” Abedi and Donovan “Temp” Laroda completing the five-player starting line. 

Conversely, London is fielding a starting lineup of all European players, including Rhys “Rated” Price, Dylan “Dylan” Henderson, Matthew “Skrapz” Marshall, Jordan “Jurd” Crowley and the first player to ink a deal with a CoD League team, Bradley “wuskin” Marshall. 

The Call of Duty League and its new franchised format kicks off this January.

Evil Geniuses Acquire Echo Fox’s League of Legends Spot

The saga of Echo Fox’s League of Legends LCS franchise slot has finally come to an end, as Evil Geniuses have officially acquired the vacant spot. The organization made the official announcement via Twitter: “You saw that right — Evil Geniuses will be returning to the North American LCS for the 2020 Season.” The team has been absent from the North American LCS since 2015, when then-named Winterfox finished last in the Challenger Series before disbanding. The Evil Geniuses will begin competition in the LCS in 2020. 

Nintendo France Reverses Ban on Smash Bros. Character

After announcing a ban on Dragon Quest XI’s Hero in official Super Smash Bros Ultimate competitions, Nintendo of France has walked back its stance and restored the character for competitive play. In a statement to Kotaku addressing the ban removal, Nintendo said, “We’re harmonizing these rules across Europe to make sure that no community or country is disadvantaged when competing in the pan-European final next year.”